drab

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dribs and drabs

Insignificant, skimpy, and/or piecemeal amounts. A: "Have you been able to get any work lately?" B: "Just some dribs and drabs to keep me ticking along, but nothing substantial."
See also: and, drab, drib

in dribs and drabs

Periodically in very small amounts; bit by bit. Information was relayed to us in dribs and drabs, but it was hours before we got the whole story of what had happened. The return on your investment will come in dribs and drabs at first, but you'll see a more steady flow of income later.
See also: and, drab, drib
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

in dribs and drabs

in small portions; bit by bit. I'll have to pay you what I owe you in dribs and drabs. The whole story is being revealed in dribs and drabs.
See also: and, drab, drib
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

dribs and drabs

Bits and pieces, negligible amounts, as in There's not much left, just some dribs and drabs of samples. The noun drib is thought to be a shortening of driblet, for "drop" or "tiny quantity," dating from the early 1700s, whereas drab meaning "a small sum of money" dates from the early 1800s.
See also: and, drab, drib
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

in ˌdribs and ˈdrabs

(informal) in small amounts or numbers: People started arriving in dribs and drabs from nine o’clock onwards.He paid back the money in dribs and drabs.
See also: and, drab, drib
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

in dribs and drabs

mod. in small portions; bit by bit. I’ll have to pay you what I owe you in dribs and drabs.
See also: and, drab, drib
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

dribs and drabs

Small quantities. This phrase, dating from the early nineteenth century, consists of nouns that rarely appear elsewhere. Drib, originating in the early 1700s, probably alludes to “dribble” or “trickle”; drab has meant a petty sum of money since the early 1800s.
See also: and, drab, drib
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
I was arguing with a friend over whether Birmingham is Britain's drabbest city, but unfortunately it's a bit of a grey area.
The drabbest of affairs seemed certain to end in stalemate until Mata's shot flicked off Phil Jones and crept in at the far post.
A dash of colour in drabbest state IF the world's youngest dictator Kim Jong-un, 28, had a lavish wedding the rest of the world was not even treated to one photo.
CAFE owners and ice-cream sellers were last night counting the cost of one of the drabbest Easter Bank Holidays in living memory as rain and grey skies washed out trade.
England captain Andrew Strauss described it as one of the drabbest Test matches he had ever been involved in to becoming one the most extraordinary.
But remember, colour is key to tiling and whether you go for a bold statement or just a splash of colour, tiles have the ability to brighten up even the drabbest of bathrooms.
Gloucestershire breezed to 41 in their second innings before four wickets fell for 12 runs in the space of 28 balls to breathe some life into the drabbest of contests.
How on earth did this side play out the drabbest of 0-0 derby draws with Middlesbrough only five days previously?
You don't need to wash your hair to look good in them and the simple act of buying one pair can make the drabbest day seem good.
Chelsea's away strip certainly has to be the drabbest kit in the Premiership and they put in a first-half performance to match.
Cinematically, this is Milos Forman's drabbest and least inventive film; even the late-'70s-mid-'80s period details seem rote, as if Forman has gone to the well of American culture's recent past once too often.
Indeed, two of the most searched terms on Pinterest are "Home" and "Craft", so it makes sense that Channel 4 would combine the two in a new series in which Clemency Green, Robin Johnson and Ant Anstead celebrate the very trendiest of homemade home furnishings, with the trio offering advice on how to spruce up even the drabbest of dwellings - and best of all, you don't have to be a time-served expert to try out any of their ideas.
White vest, Boden; geometric print trousers, Next; peep-toe patent wedges, Dune; gold necklace, New Look; bangle, Accessorize Neon Head to toe, it's more than a little intimidating, but splashes of acid brights can lift even the drabbest outfit.
They can be used to cover up any bare soil between mature shrubs with classic plant combinations such as Bergenia crassifolia, Erica x darleyensis - known as Arthur Johnson - and Hedera colchica, or Sulphur Heart, to create impact at the drabbest time of the year.
England captain Andrew Strauss described it as one of the drabbest Tests he had ever been involved in to becoming one the most extraordinary.